Phragmites australis subsp. australis
common reed
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


Once images have been obtained, photographs of this taxon will be displayed in this window.Click on the image to enter our photo gallery.
Currently no image is available for this taxon.


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Phragmites australis subsp. australis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots, semi-rhizomatous; stems stout, erect, 200-300 cm tall.
Sheaths smooth, loose, twisting in the wind and aligning the blades on one side; blades flat, mostly 20-40 cm long, 10-40 mm wide, usually breaking from the stems by winter; ligules half membrane and half hairs, the innovations mostly membranous, the fringe of hairs late in developing, 1.5-3 mm long.
Inflorescence a large feathery panicle, 15-35 cm long, often purplish, but later straw-coloured; spikelets generally 3- to 6-flowered, 10-15 mm long; lower glumes 4-6 mm long, the upper ones about 6-9 mm long; lower lemmas hairy, unawned, 9-12 mm long, the upper ones generally smaller but with awns often as long as the bodies, smooth, but exceeded by the silky hairs of the rachillas; paleas scarcely half as long as the lemmas; lodicules scarcely 1 mm long; anthers about 2 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat and Range

Marshes, ponds, lakeshores and ditches in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in S and NE BC; circumpolar, N to SW NT, E to NF and NS and S to IN, LA, TX and MX; Eurasia, Trinidad, C America.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Allred, Kelly W. 2010. Phragmites revised treatment. Flora North America. Available Online.

Blossey, B. 2002. Replacement of native North American Phragmites australis by introduced invasive genotypes.BEN - Botanical Electronic News 284

Catling, P. M. 2005. New "top of the list" invasive plants of natural habitats in Canada. BEN - Botanical Electronic News 345.

Catling, P. M. 2007. Canadian Phragmites database – notes for use. BEN - Botanical Electronic News 370

Martin, M. 2003. Common Reed (Phragmites australis) in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada. BEN - Botanical Electronic News 318

Myerson, Laura A., David V. Viola and Rebecca N. Brown. 2009. Hybridization of invasive Phragmites australis with a native subspecies in North America. Biological Invasions 12 (1): 103-111.

Mozdzer, Thomas J. and Joseph C. Zieman. 2010. Ecophysiological differences between genetic lineages facilitate the invasion of non-native Phragmites australis in North American Atlantic coast wetlands. Journal of Ecology 98 (2): 451 - 458.

Snyder, Eric. 2009. Invasive common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud subsp. australis): first record for Manitoba and the Canadian prairies. Botanical Electronic News #418, December 3, 2009.

USDA. 2010. Plant profile for Phragmites australis. United States Department of Agriculture. Available Online.